Scottish Natural Capital Accounts: 2021

This report estimates quantity and value of services supplied by Scottish natural capital for:

Agricultural biomass

Fish capture


Water abstraction


Fossil fuel

Renewable energy

Carbon sequestration

Air pollution removal

Noise mitigation

Urban cooling

Recreation and house price values

6. Asset valuation

ONS - Asset valuation

Here we present the asset values of Scottish natural capital by service. These values are estimated by capitalising the annual flow of services from the natural resource that are expected to take place over a projected period, known as the asset life. The annual environmental service flows provide the basis for the projected flows. This is a method known as Net Present Valuation (NPV), which is explained in more detail in the methodology section.

Some of the environmental services presented in this article are produced from renewable resources whose stock is not exhausted over time, such as Scottish woodland delivering carbon sequestration. For these renewable resources, a 100-year asset life has been assumed. The non-renewable abiotic resources presented in this article are minerals and fossil fuels, which have an assumed asset life of 25 years.

In 2017, fossil fuels were equivalent to 30% of the value of Scottish natural capital assets, which in total equalled £156 billion in 2017. The second and third largest services were carbon sequestration, making up 27% of Scottish natural capital assets, and outdoor recreation, making up 11%.

Figure 31: Scottish natural capital assets were valued at £156 billion in 2017

Asset value by service (£ million, 2019 prices), Scotland, 2017

Source: Office for National Statistics


1. Values for noise mitigation are from 2018.

2. Values for recreation and aesthetic (house prices) are from 2016.

The asset value of regulating and cultural services, which are not directly included in national accounts, amounted to £68 billion in 2017, or 44% of Scotland’s total quantified natural asset value.

Figure 32: In 2017, Scotland’s natural capital assets equalled 17% of the UK total natural capital asset value

Asset value (£ million, 2019 prices), UK and Scotland, 2017

Source: Office for National Statistics

Scotland’s contribution to the total UK asset value of each ecosystem service ranges from 0.5% (urban cooling) to 86.4% (fossil fuels). Scottish contributions to UK total asset values are particularly large across some provisioning services, with Scotland contributing 86.4% in fossil fuels, 79.8% in fish capture, 60.3% in timber and 61.6% in renewable energy.

Figure 33: Scotland makes a significant contribution to UK provisioning services

Ecosystem service asset values (£ million 2019 prices), UK, 2017

Source: Office for National Statistics



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